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Old April 9, 2020   #1
Natalie2b
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Default New In-Ground Garden Layout/Spacing

I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on spacing of rows/layout for an in-ground garden. We have four raised (4x8) beds that already have tomatoes, peppers, onions and celery planted using the square foot gardening method.

We tilled a 25' x 30' space behind the raised beds to plant melons, summer and winter squash, beans and cucumbers. Corn has little separate space at the North corner of the new bed, not included in the 25x30.

It is 25 deep/front to back, 30 wide/left to right. The front of the bed is SW facing. The rows will run SE to NW due to a slight slope in land. My initial thoughts are to make rows 4ft wide/deep with pathways of 12-18". Six beds at 4ft wide is 24ft. That would leave 6ft for 5 paths in between the rows. I can probably push it back just a bit to allow for 7.5ft to give 18" paths.

Does anyone else have in-ground gardens. What does your layout look like? Four foot wide beds work well in raised beds - I can reach in both sides, but will that work for this as well?

I'd also like to grow as much vertically as I can. I was thinking of using cattle panels in the back rows for winter squash and pumpkins and melons. The summer squash, beans, cucumber would be closer to the front using bamboo stakes/net.

We've done well with the beds, but this is our first in ground patch. Anything stick out as not feasible? Better ideas? Not worried about having too much food as we have three teenage boys, neighbors, siblings, parents that will gladly eat anything passed along.

Thanks for reading all this and your opinions/help!!
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Old April 10, 2020   #2
GoDawgs
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I have both raised beds and then in-ground areas for corn and squash. I would suggest that pathways should be wide enough so that anything you need to take down between the rows (wheelbarrow, etc) can get through there. But that's going to depend on what you grow in the rows. With 1' wide pathways, large stuff growing on either side of the path might grow together and close the path!

If you're going to hand water, consider hose guides or getting that hose to behave going down 1' wide paths without messing anything up can be frustrating. I like to hand-water stuff as it gives me a chance to inspect everybody and catch any problems early.

Vertical will help with your space management. I use metal t-posts and tie an 8' pole to each one. That allows me to tie lengths of field fence to the posts two high. I think that's about 80" of height.



I planted Alabama Blackeye Butterbeans on it and they still grew to the top and back down.



The good thing about an in-ground area is that if you try it one way this year and aren't happy with it, you can always change it next year. Yeah, this year's pathways might need a little extra tilling next year but you're not stuck with a permanent arrangement unless you want it.

It will be interesting to see what you come up with and how it works for you! And welcome to the board!
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Old April 11, 2020   #3
Natalie2b
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Thanks GoDawgs, I wouldn't have thought to put in guides for the hose. Great tip! I also have a roll of fencing that I hadn't thought of using for beans and cukes. It is definitely going to be an experiment this year. You've got a great looking yard/garden!!
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Old April 11, 2020   #4
Nan_PA_6b
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I use 12" paths. Many get overgrown with whatever I'm growing. It's hard to keep them open. Sometimes I have just little foot-spaces to step on. If the stuff you grow is low enough, you can wheel in a wheelbarrow on a 1' path. Or if it's flexible enough to be pushed out of the way. Growing stuff up trellises will help keep it off the path.
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Old April 11, 2020   #5
Natalie2b
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Great! Thanks for the input. We will see how we do with 18" paths this year.
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Old April 11, 2020   #6
b54red
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It has been nearly forty years since I gardened that way; but one suggestion is to make the beds a bit narrower so that you can easily reach the center from either side and at the same time that would make your paths a bit wider. When I rebuilt my old raised beds last year I made them around 44 inches wide from the 48 inches they were; which has been much easier on me and given me much more room to get a wheelbarrow between the beds.

Bill
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Old April 11, 2020   #7
zeuspaul
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Narrower paths equals more work. I have a pair of tomato rows that are five feet apart center to center. The inground beds are two feet wide so that makes the path three feet wide. This didn't work out for me because I lost access to the path as the tomatoes encroached. Sometimes I get behind maintaining the plants. I haven't made my final decision but I plan at a minimum to widen the path from three feet to five feet. I may go to a six foot path just to be safe as I don't want to go to the hassle of pulling the t-posts again...not fun.
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Old April 12, 2020   #8
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie2b View Post
I also have a roll of fencing that I hadn't thought of using for beans and cukes.
Cattle panels would work fine depending on the height of what it is you are going to grow on them.

Here's another trellis I made for the end of a bed, using fence again. This one was eventually planted with snow peas that got up as high as the tops of the poles..



I also used the same kind of trellis last year on a bed end and stuck in an extra sweet potato slip I couldn't bear to toss away. I kept winding the vines in and out of the fencing and ended up with some nice sweets!

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Old April 12, 2020   #9
Black Krim
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I followed Charles Dowdings methodology. Using 4 ft wide beds with 2 ft walkways between. Both dedicated soaces. My teens dump well aged compost on each bed once a year.

The tall crops are on the north side and the shirtest on the S side.

Each bed easy to cover with a six foot wide fleece cover. Keeps beds moist, warms the bed in early spring and often keeps out pests both bird and insect.

I dont till. Or turn over soil. The beds are actually bouncy to walk on.
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Old April 13, 2020   #10
Black Krim
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check out the Charles Dowding method. Its made gardening faaaar easier. Dedicated spaces : 4 ft wide beds, 2 ft walkways. cover with 6 ft wide fleece. Cover beds with compost once a year. no tilling. no forking. And walk on the beds.... they spring back!

Tall stuff to the north. shorter items to the S.

Some spinach over wintered. Tge chives have been clipped once. And half the beds were planted over the last 4 weeks.

Im still fighting weeds, but the production has skyrocketed since changing to thus method. Oh and did I mentio watering ? I keep a rainbarrel in the middle. Fill that and hand water. a few beds get siajer hoses and hose from faucet to garden is dragged down the middle and attached.

Beds get a layer of mulch like shavings to reduce watering. Great around baby tomato plants.... but mist plants dont need the mulch. The fleece acts like a mulch for greens.

enjoy your new space.
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Old April 13, 2020   #11
Natalie2b
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Thanks for all the tips!!

Zuespaul - I am planning on using trellis to keep things more vertical, so hopefully I won't have problems with things encroaching on my paths.

Black Krim - I started watching a bit of Charles Dowding on You Tube and its really interesting! We've already tilled this year, but excellent to know we don't have to next year if we don't want to.
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